Rag Rug Making

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Volunteers Alison, Myra and Lynne

Recent visitors to Burns cottage may have noticed something new.  Our volunteers have been spending time demonstrating different 18th Century crafts inside the cottage. These crafts are all skills women in the 18th century would have been very familiar with and it is easy to imagine Agnes Burnes (Robert Burns’ mother) toiling away at these chores over the course of the day in the cottage.

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One of the crafts underway is a project to make new rag rugs for the cottage. A group of volunteers have been busy starting this process over the winter and have just begun to demonstrate their new skills to visitors.

Rag rugs were popular because they were easy to make and materials were cheap. All you need to make your own is some hessian and lots of scrap material. Our volunteers started with a large hessian lining which would make up the back of the rug. Their first task was to draw a border which they wanted to fill with black material. Using old clothes kindly donated to us, our volunteers cut the material into strips to add to the rug.

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Our Volunteers staring the project in December last year

The process is very simple: the material is simply pushed through the hessian using wooden pegs and because the material is tightly packed together it will stay in place.

The volunteers have now finished the black border and have been adding the colourful material to the centre of the rug. The material used for the rugs needs to be quite hard wearing and wool cloth is best; this makes the rugs heavy and warm.

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Wooden pegs are used to push the material through the hessian

The rag rug team will be demonstrating their crafts on Monday afternoon and we recommend popping in to watch them in action!

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Volunteers demonstrating the rag rug making in the Spence
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One thought on “Rag Rug Making

    Green Dragon Artist said:
    April 6, 2016 at 1:06 pm

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